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Hexagon-type transverse instability of counterpropagating waves in BaTiO3 as a first-order optical phase transition

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Theoretically predicted hard excitation of optical hexagons in photorefractive crystals is studied experimentally in barium titanate. The well-developed hysteresis loop is discovered in the dependence of the hexagon intensity on the crystal coupling strength proving the hard mode of the oscillation onset. The analogy of the excitation threshold for optical hexagon and first order optical phase transition is revealed.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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